Shihan Howard Lipman spent time in the Far North Coast of New South Wales to instruct and train with students from Lismore Dojo and Ballina Dojo. The visit was a huge success and thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended training.
Training was focused on refining grabbing techniques and kata on the first night in Lismore. The focus turned to Kobudo at Ballina Dojo on the second night. Shihan Lipman also dedicated an entire Saturday to develop Sempai Mark McFadden and Sempai Jon Ellis, which in turn will further benefit KIMAA’s North Coast students.
Shihan Rick Cunningham, Sensei Peter Olive and Sensei Idir Bahamid were graded by Shihan Howard Lipman at a demonstration session event on 7 May 2010. Shihan Cunningham received his 6th Dan, while Senseis Peter and Idir received their 4th Dans. The evening was attended by several special guests. Read more about these instructors and their backgrounds in Karate here.
A number of demonstrations were provided by seniors on Kata and Ippon Kumite, videos of which are featured below. Bo, Sai and Eeku were also demonstrated – clips of these are available on the About Kobudo page. The evening concluded with a celebration dinner in Gordon.
Shihan Bob Boulton has been Shihan Howard Lipman’s mentor and friend for many years. Shihan Boulton came to Turramurra Dojo at Shihan Lipman’s invitation in late November and did a class on throws, choke holds, and locks.
All students that attended the special classes agree that it was a valuable learning experience and an honour to be taught by Shihan Lipman’s own instructor.
Shihan Bob Boulton – Background
Kyokushin Karate was first seen in Great Britain in 1965, thanks to Sensei Bob Boulton. Sensei Boulton had studied in Japan at the Honbu (HQ) Dojo of Sosai Masutatsu Oyama. On his return to the UK he founded the first Kyokushin Dojo, the London Karate Kai in Kennington, South London. The fame of this Sensei and the Kyokushin style of Karate soon spread.
Sensei Boulton was later joined by Sensei Steve Arneil and it was not long before members of the Dojo were competing and winning tournaments. After some travelling between Tokyo and the UK, Sensei Boulton emigrated to Australia, where he later became Shihan Lipman’s mentor.
On October 30th Shihan Cunningham and I were to make their third pilgrimage to Okinawa this year. This time our group also consisted of Shihan Cunningham’s wife Kirsti, and their young daughter Amelia, along with Allan Engelin 4th Dan, Ian Holdaway 2nd Dan, and Mark McFadden 1st Dan.
We arrived at Kansai airport on Thursday evening 30th October, checked into our hotel and spent the evening checking a huge shopping outlet, a fun park for Amelia, a meal, and to bed.
The next day we left early for Nara….this was the original capital of Japan before Kyoto, before Tokyo, so the amount of history there is truly amazing. There are many old and amazing temples and pagodas, the most impressive of which was Todaiji Temple which is home to Daibutsu, the largest Buddha in all of Japan. Todaiji is the largest wooden building in the world and dates back to 8th century.
It was back to Kansai on the Saturday evening and on the plane to Naha on Sunday morning. On arrival in Naha we checked into our usual hotel, the Nahana, which is now beginning to feel like a second home, contacted Hokama Sensei, and arranged to meet him for dinner with two of his senior students, Taira san and Seki san. We spent a pleasant evening together and started to think seriously about the training which was to follow.
The training consisted of sessions for the whole group every morning, and advanced sessions with Sensei for Rick and myself in the afternoons. As usual it was learn more, constant practice of technique and then, “more speed please!” During these sessions we moved ahead and learnt more Bo Kata, Tonfa techniques and kata, and Eeku technique and kata. There were many discussions with, and explanations by Sensei of kata and technique, and Okinawa Kobudo weapons and their history.
On the next Saturday Sensei took us to Kume Jima island where one of his students lives and has a dojo, Shihan Yoshinnori Taira. Kume Jima is about a 40 minute flight from Okinawa, has a population of 9,500; three sets of traffic lights, and sugar cane everywhere!! Taira Shihan picked us up at the airport and took us to all the points of interest on the island, and also to the local sake factory where we tried some 18 year old sake…now that was an experience!! That evening we all trained at his dojo and Sensei really stepped up the pace. After training we were treated to an incredible meal of beautifully prepared sushi and salad with the odd beer and sake for good measure.
Then it was back to Naha and more training before we departed on November 12.
As with our previous trips we found Hokama Sensei to be most helpful and informative, and we thoroughly enjoyed his instruction and company.
As a result of this trip I was made Sensei’s first Australian branch chief in Kobudo and was graded to Sandan (3rd Dan) in Kobudo. Shihan Cunningham was also graded to 3rd Dan in Kobudo. For us this was a most unexpected end to this trip to Okinawa and one which we considered to be a great honour.
Shihan Cunningham and I will continue to travel to Okinawa to further our knowledge under the instruction of Sensei Hokama and look forward to honing their skills in Kobudo.
From August 19th until September 1st was to be yet another memorable trip to Okinawa….the home of martial arts in Japan. Shihan Cunningham and I spent this time training again with Sensei Hokama, and it was indeed a great pleasure to reacquaint ourselves with him and his students.
On our arrival in Naha we contacted Sensei, picked him up from his dojo, and proceeded to his favourite sushi restaurant for dinner together and to discuss our program for the next days. These next ten days were to be spent with just the two of us training with Sensei, which proved to be most interesting as the temperature was 32 degrees and the humidity was 88-90%.
After dinner with Sensei we were to return to our hotel, but as usual Rick had his homing beacon on, and somehow managed to find our favourite yaki tori bar where we enjoyed a little more food and had to reassess the local Orion beer for which we had both developed a taste.
The next day’s training started and progressed day by day with kata, bunkai, joint locks, bo and sai training, and over this period we discovered how hot it really was in Okinawa in summer. However the training and guidance by Sensei was excellent, his patience and persistence is something to be admired.
As well as the training, as before, Sensei was most interested for us to learn about and appreciate the people, customs, and history of Okinawa, and set about making sure we did.
We saw a private family shrine, Nakagusuku castle, which is now classified as a national treasure, and in its day must have been most impressive as it has a commanding view of the pacific ocean on one side and the east china sea on the other. We also saw “the Nakamura house“ which dates back to the early 17th century and is a major cultural asset. Sensei took us to a martial arts shop in Okinawa City, and we had lunch at the Legion Club which was initially established as an officers’ club post World War II and remains very much the same to this day!
Sensei took us to a very famous spa resort to help recover our bodies one afternoon, then that evening it was of to a local festival in Nishihara where his students were doing a demonstration. Everywhere we went we were constantly amazed by the friendliness and open hearted attitude of the Okinawan people.
Another afternoon after training we were taken to the royal mausoleum built in 1501 to re-entomb the remains of the famous king, Sho-en, then off to Shuri-jo castle, world heritage site which was the centre of politics, economy and culture of the Ryuku Kingdom where we were to see a presentation of classical Okinawan dance, which was quite amazing.
To many of you who read this it will probably seem that we were just sight seeing…I can assure you this was not the case, it was all part of the balance that sensei wanted us to achieve.
In training we learnt some of the Okinawan Goju-Ryu katas, bo exercises, kata, and applications, and also exercises for the sai and sai kata, and applications of sai against the bo.
Sensei repeats these drills over and over and by the time training was finished we had no doubt that we would remember these kata, and with Sensei saying that after 100 times if you work long enough and hard enough your body will remember….both Rick and I had to agree with this principle.
On our final day we trained in the morning, had lunch with Sensei, said our goodbyes, and told him as we had arranged with him we would return again on October 30th for more instruction.
Rick and I both agreed that we had increased the depth of our knowledge with this trip and look forward to the next chapter in this new book…..for us a new door has been opened and it can only be to our benefit and the benefit of our students.